“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”—Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)
I grew up in a home where I was not allowed to say that I hate anyone. In fact, the verb hate was one that my parents discouraged me from using in association with God’s creation. As a result, I was taken aback when I first read Proverbs 6:16-19 and saw that God Himself has six things that He hates, seven that are detestable to Him. I recently read the same text in 20 different translations and versions and saw that they all used the verb hate.
These things that God hates have caused much pain and suffering to others. “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community,” all these are out of character for God’s chosen and faithful people. They are the results of man’s relentless search for material and fleeting pleasure, power, possessions, prestige, and earthly goods—an inheritance that we cannot take with us into eternity.
The most lasting and valuable treasures of life are not the material things that we can physically see and touch; yet they motivate our every action. The things that God hates bring destruction, trouble, sickness, and pain to both the perpetrators and the victims.
In these days of fleeting value and the ever-changing worth of material possessions, parents often think about what legacy to leave their children. Our economic system determines what is valuable based on our value system. There is no eternal value in material goods. Be it monetary or personal, the value will rise and fall based on the consumer market and our perceived needs.
Many of the “latest tools” that were hot and flying off the shelves years ago are of no value today. But a legacy of faith, love, and peace-making, which God loves, will never lose its worth. It is not based on popularity charts, or affected by the supply-and-demand of the consumer market. An ever-growing, deep-in-the-soul relationship with our unchangeable God, and a love for humanity is of inestimable value. Likewise, the unwavering confidence that we can always do what is pleasing to God by seeing the good in others, seeking peace, and telling the truth, is priceless.
An understanding of the most lasting and important things of life will inform how we relate to those around us and improve relationships here in the Atlantic Union. I have no doubt that our walk with God on this earth will indeed be more joyful, beneficial, and blessed if we learn to do the things that God loves instead of what He hates—humility, honesty, a spirit of benevolence, and peace-making, instead of a spirit of discord. When practiced, these things will develop a legacy of eternal value!
Pierre Omeler is the executive secretary for the Atlantic Union Conference.
This editorial first appeared in the May 2019 issue of The Atlantic Union Gleaner magazine, page 3.